Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Guilty Pleasures Part Forty-Six -- Vaguely New Wavish Pop

Tired of politics tonight, so let's look back. About 30 years back, to be precise. Fearless Maria is not here tonight, since it's past her bedtime. But I'll bet she'll weigh in on these in the comments section.

I got the idea for this edition of Guilty Pleasures from my friend the Night Writer, via Mitch Berg's blog. While Mitch is best known for his prolific political writing, he also writes excellent, incisive posts about music from time to time. Today he had a post up about Ian Hunter, the former lead vocalist for Mott the Hoople, who amazingly celebrated his 70th birthday today. In the comments on Mitch's post, Night Writer mentioned that, back in the day, he was trying to decide whether or not to buy Ian Hunter's best solo album, You're Never Alone with a Schizophrenic, or a record by another Ian, Ian Gomm.

That got me thinking. I hadn't thought about Ian Gomm in years. But he occupies a very specific space in my memory. His one hit in the U.S. came in 1979. It's a pretty good song and it leads off our parade of songs tonight:

The song takes me back to my high school days, in 1979. Musically that was the year that disco peaked and then jumped the shark. Gomm's song seemed like a nice antidote to the steady diet of Donna Summer, Village People and the like that were on offer that year. You didn't hear bands like the Clash or even Talking Heads that much in Appleton in 1979. But something like Gomm's song got airplay.

And there were others that seem to fit the sort of vaguely New Wavish sensibility that I got from Gomm. There was this one hit wonder, a fairly big song from the end of 1979, from a Canadian band called The Kings

Definitely a fun song, but not especially threatening. Then there was this one, from late 1978, another one-hit wonder from the British band Sniff'n the Tears. You'll hear this one on the radio once in a while and I'm sure the boys appreciate the royalty checks after all these years:

Then there was this one from a Texan named Moon Martin. His most successful song was "Bad Case of Loving You," which was a big hit for Robert Palmer, but the song that Martin got on the radio was this one:

And then there was this regional hit from The Shoes, a band out of Zion, Illinois. These guys never broke big time, but because Appleton was well within the Chicago sphere of influence, you'd hear this one a fair amount back then.

All good songs I think, but I have a hard time sorting them out in my mind. Part of it is that none of the artists really were able to capitalize on their initial successes, for a variety of reasons. But I'll bet if you're old enough, you remember them all. As always, pick the one you like the best in the comments section. And for all you Fearless Maria fans out there, don't worry, she'll be back for the next edition of Guilty Pleasures.


Gino said...

i only remember 1/2 of them.
maybe being in the los angeles market we had an embarassment of riches that didnt have room for some of the more obscure.

my pick: driver's seat.

Night Writer said...

I liked the way you ran with the Gomm reference. I went to check out the video for a reminisce and saw this link to a guy with a really cool name:

Gotta love those Solid Gold dancers, too.

Mark Heuring said...

Gotta love the Solid Gold dancers, NW. But why didn't your namesake bring along Stevie Nicks, who sang backing vocals on that song?

Night Writer said...

She was there for the lip sync. Did you note how the camera cut away from JS when the "oooh-oooh" parts came up? And he made such a big deal out of plugging his electric guitar in when he came on stage, too!